Similar grassroots activism is taking root in Sheffield and neighboring villages, where residents call themselves the Ridge Protectors and are circulating petitions against the project and erecting "Save our ridgeline" signs along the roadsides.
Residents of Sheffield in the Northeast Kingdom are looking across the
border to New Hampshire for encouragement as they battle a proposed wind
power project in their community.
In Lyman, N.H., a town of 500 people near the Connecticut River,
residents came out in force to turn away the same Massachusetts wind
developer who wants to build up to 24 industrial turbines on
Hardscrabble Mountain near Sheffield.
UPC Wind Management LLC gave up on its plan to install a test tower on
Gardner Mountain near Lyman after the community strongly opposed it and
urged the local zoning board of adjustment to deny the application.
Reading the landscape, UPC withdrew its application for the test tower
in the proposed 20-turbine project in January.
Similar grassroots activism is taking root in Sheffield and neighboring
villages, where residents call themselves the Ridge Protectors and are
circulating petitions against the project and erecting “Save our
ridgeline” signs along the roadsides.
But New Hampshire has something that Vermont lacks: Strong local
control. And that could mean the difference between the fate of Gardner
Mountain in New Hampshire and Hardscrabble Mountain in Vermont.
“The New Hampshire government is loath to step in and tell the locals
what to do,” Lisa Linowes, one of the residents who fought the Gardner
project, said in an interview. In New Hampshire, local officials hold
most of the cards, and in Vermont, developers apply to the state’s
Public Service Board.
Renewable energy will play a role in both Vermont and New Hampshire, but
only on a scale that works for each state. Big wind projects on
ridgelines don’t fit that scale.
Residents of Sheffield have written a letter to Gov. Jim Douglas, asking
him for policies that would restrict industrial wind turbines on private
mountains, similar to restrictions on state land. They want to know why
a wind factory with 330-foot tall towers and transmission lines should
be allowed on their community’s ridgelines if the local people don’t
“For the tiny contribution these turbines make to the power grid, we do
not believe you can risk turning the wildest and most beautiful section
of our state into a tourist “won’t go zone,” a place where people
seeking a better way of life will not put down new roots or money and a
place whose natural resources and beauty are permanently compromised,”
they wrote in their letter to Douglas.
Lyman, N.H., won. Maybe Sheffield, Vt., can, too.
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